Ah the remastered, always been a rather discussed and criticized topic; updates of titles sold at full price, without particular additional content and a sometimes superficial remastering work. How many times have we reproached the market for this choice? How many times have we thought: wouldn't it be better to go forward instead of backwards? All questions absolutely justified by a model now destined to disappear.
For some years now, Xbox has worked hard to allow video games to be preserved without remastering and game resales, introducing Boost FPS, Auto-HDR, upscaled resolution, and backwards compatibility. A work that continues to evolve and in which the Microsoft Gaming team strongly believes.
Despite this, however, there are still those who invest numerous resources to propose rather trivial revisions with mere increases in resolution and performance, perhaps even placing the job at 50-60-70 euros. Then there are those who have worked to rebuild the game from the ground up (remake); just think of Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us Part I or Demon's Souls, a different and more appreciable decision, given that in some cases we got to see a different experience from different points of view.
Now, what would happen if a company like NVIDIA created a tool that allowed developers and modders to make real remastered at negligible (if any) costs with two simple clicks? No, it's not science fiction, it's banal NVIDIA RTX Remix, the company's new NVIDIA Omniverse-based software that allows you to effectively breathe new life into classic video games, introducing DLSS 3.0, ray tracing, NVIDIA Reflex and redesigned textures (thanks to artificial intelligence).
How does RTX Remix work?
RTX Remix is able to capture textures, lighting, cameras and geometries of any video game compatible with DirectX 8 and DirectX 9. This information is loaded into a Runtime called RTX Remix Runtime which interprets everything into separate assets and reassembles them into an identical scene, after which RTX Remix converts all assets and scenes into the 3D framework, Universal Scene Description (USD), which constitutes the foundation of the NVIDIA Omniverse platform for creating and managing custom 3D pipelines.
Since RTX Remix is entirely based on NVIDIA Omniverse, USD assets can be easily imported into the RTX Remix application, including all other Omniverse compatible applications such as Adobe Substance 3D Painter, Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, Blender, Unreal Engine and many more. In short, this will allow modders to have everything under control in a much simpler way, having a single workflow without necessarily having to learn several different tools.
Now, to introduce ray tracing into a game, every texture and surface needs to be thought through PBR rendering materials, this is to ensure that they are able to interact naturally with ray-traced light. An example that NVIDIA makes trivially concerns glass, which reflects with clear details, while a laminate floor has coarser reflections. The stone, on the other hand, while not offering visible reflections, is able to bounce light and therefore also act on the game world. The problem is that classic games are made up of simple color textures that have none of these properties.
So, in order to introduce ray tracing, modders must operate by manually rebuilding every single asset and work with new geometric details. Needless to tell you how much time something like this can take.
RTX Remix is all about simplifying and speeding up the remastering process using artificial intelligence. AI Super Resolution increases the resolution of textures by 4x, transforming them into assets at 4K resolution. Apart from this, AI Physically Based Masterials analyzes the game environment and adds PBR properties to all referenced textures.
Of course, the texture and model improvements are only part of the upgrade offered by RTX Remix. Titles like The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind were developed with classic lighting techniques, far removed from modern global illumination. NVIDIA's software allows you to convert traditional lights into realistic lights, then take advantage of ray-tracing to give a new imprint to the scene, also introducing soft shadows, ambient occlusion and reflections. In short, a real visual show and everything can be done practically automatically, where a modder can even create dynamic lights and introduce the volume to make the scene more engaging. Ah, I forgot, all practically at no cost.
If you want to know more, I leave you the link that leads to the official NVIDIA page, which collects a bit of what I have summarized in the previous lines, as well as a Portal video that I am sure will leave you speechless.
Expressed that, do we agree that this software could really put an end to the ancient and terrifying concept of “remastered”? By now designed only to extract money from the consumer with the minimum wage wage?
Think of such a tool in the hands of modders what it could generate, what incredible classic titles we will finally be able to play again, perhaps without spending practically anything.
The point is though that all of this we will almost certainly only see it on PC, while console players (especially PlayStation and Switch, who have been living behind a rather preponderant remastered system for years) will be forced, if nothing changes, to still pay handsomely for the three classic improvements that a PC player can normally have for free. Sometimes I think: why do I have to pay 10 euros to make the next-gen switch between two versions of God of War or Horizon? Why does a Gears 5, Halo Infinite or Forza Horizon 5 update automatically on Xbox depending on the console and do I have to spend money elsewhere? Why on PC I just change settings and you're done?
From this point of view, NVIDIA has certainly ridiculed the remastered and maybe it will make even those who persist in living with this "trick" think and why not, maybe even those who spend money to replay the same title with the same textures and an upgrade that should normally be free.
Who knows, maybe now we'll start waking up.